Signs (2002) [Blu-Ray]

Genre(s): Drama / Science Fiction / Thriller
Buena Vista || PG13 - 106 minutes - $34.99 || June 3, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-05-26


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Writer(s): M. Night Shyamalan (written by)
Cast: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Rory Culkin, Abigail Breslin, Cherry Jones, M. Night Shyamalan


Theatrical Release Date: August 2, 2002


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Making Signs
  • Storyboards: Multi-Angle Features
  • Night's First Alien Movie


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (PCM 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Signs is the gripping story of an ordinary family as they encounter the possibility that Earth is being invaded by creatures from another planet. Graham Hess (Mel Gibson) and his family awaken to find a 500-foot crop circle in their backyard, they're told extraterrestrial are responsible. As they watch the growing dead, news reports tell of similar "signs" suddenly appearing all over the world!

The third major theatrical film by M. Night Shyamalan goes back to the creepy roots of his first success, The Sixth Sense, by introducing aliens.

Mel Gibson stars in this film as Graham Hess, a former minister who has lost his faith after his wife was killed in a car accident. Joining him are his two young kids, Morgan (Rory Culkin) and Bo (Abigail Breslin) and his brother Merrill (Joaquin Phoenix). One morning, the family wakes up to find their corn field has been trampled into what looks like crop circles. No one wants to believe this and instead puts the blame on the local drunks playing a prank. After an hour or so of the family talking, we are finally introduced to the supernatural element of the film.

I was a huge fan of The Sixth Sense and was very excited to go see Signs during its theatrical release. Missing Unbreakable in theaters and DVD, this would be my second encounter with an M. Night film and after Sixth Sense, I had very high hopes. I mean, it has crop circles and aliens, so there is no way it could be a bad film. Well, I was wrong. It's not that Signs is bad, it just builds up the suspense incredibly slow, and when we finally get to the part we are all waiting for, itís just a complete letdown.

Right from the start M. Night sets up his trademark "twist". Graham Hess has lost his faith in god, Merrill was a former baseball player who keeps his bat on the wall, Morgan has asthma and Bo has a tick for not liking the taste of water so she keeps multiple glasses and cups around the house. These facts help the family defeat the aliens and ultimately continue living.

The main problem with the film is its being advertised as a movie with aliens...and we only see two of them. We are being setup for a huge attack of aliens (especially considering they live right by the cornfield with the crop circles) with tons of spaceships being shown and TV/Radio stations losing signals yet in the end, they just sit around until they encounter one alien which is quickly defeated with the family issues that I described above.

The movie had the potential to be the War of the Worlds of my generation, but instead falls flat on its face much like all the other M. Night films that came after (The Village and Lady in the Water).



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

All features are presented in 480i SD.

Deleted Scenes (7:32) - Five Deleted scenes, only one of which includes the alien. Some are as short as six seconds, while the last one (with the Alien) takes up the bulk of the running time at five minutes. Would have been nice to know exactly why but no commentary is included with these.

Making Signs (~60 minutes) - A fairly long documentary that is split into six smaller featurettes. While some portions of these are interesting, it quickly turns into M. Night is the best-type feel to it.

Storyboards: Multi-Angle Features (5:11) - Here we take a look at two scenes in the film (Graham and the Pantry; Graham and Merrill chasing the alien). Iíve never been a big fan of these storyboard features, but it is a bit better than the one found on Unbreakable.

Night's First Alien Movie (2:17) - Ugh. Who really includes a short film they made as a kid on their DVD/Blu-ray releases? Oh wait, M. Night does. Pass.

Once again Disney has stepped up and offered a $10 rebate my mail if you own the previous version of Signs (as long as you include both UPC's and a receipt for this Blu-ray release).



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Signs is presented in 1.78:1 (being altered from the Theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1) 1080p on a 50GB disc. The case indicated the ratio is 1.85:1 but my TV says (and shows) otherwise. Any scene shown outside is simply amazing. The cornfield is very green and the Hess' backyard has a great color to it. However, much like M. Nights other films, blacks are not very strong and appear to be more of a dark grey color then black. I did notice a few scenes that have some edge enhancement done to it, but overall it wasn't too bad. There are several shots of Mel Gibsonís face up close when he is talking to Ray Reddy (M. Night) in his car and they look spectacular.

Disney treats us to a spectacular an English 5.1 Uncompressed PCM mix (48kHz/24-bit) as well as English and French Dolby Digital 5.1 and a Spanish 2.0 Dolby Digital tracks. The Uncompressed track is nothing short of amazing. Several times through the movie we are joining the family running through the cornfield and you can hear everything. The crackling of the dirt beneath their feet, the movement of the corn stalks and the breath coming out of their mouths. Topping that off is the attack on the house while the family is downstairs in the basement. Sounds coming from every speaker. Alien(s) running from literally one speaker to the other. At one point, there is a scene where Graham is at Ray's house (without ruining it for you), and the sound gets so loud and powerful it actually knocked the center speaker off of my shelf to come toppling to the ground (scaring my cats to the point where both were found hiding in their litter box). This is AQ demo material!



.::OVERALL::.

Signs is not a bad movie, itís just not what most people were expecting. Itís more story driven then action, and aliens are seen only 3 times. It is a decent film, but I couldn't recommend a purchase unless you are a fan of M. Night or want to show off the powerful Uncompressed track. Do yourself a favor and simply give it a rent if you've never seen it. While not a great film, itís definitely entertaining.